An ambulance arrives at a hospital.

Professional Doctorate Emergency Services Management (DESM)

Join a research degree for senior managers from the emergency services (ambulance, police, or fire and rescue) where you will engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue, develop as a researcher and gain skills to apply to professional practice.

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      • International Students Can Apply


      Course Length: 4.5 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: October 2022, October 2023
      Subjects: Research
      Location: Edge Hill University

      Professionalisation of the emergency services workforce and the development of strategic leadership within the blue lights, namely the ambulance, police, and fire and rescue services, are at the top of government and reform agendas.

      If you are a leader or senior manager from the emergency services or prison and probation service, or if you work for local authorities, councils or health organisations and have responsibilities under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, this programme will enhance your ability to question, analyse, critique and theorise. It will also encourage interoperability and multi-agency cooperation in line with the statutory duty for collaboration between the emergency services introduced in the Police and Crime Bill 2017. You will develop professional management practice while gaining an appreciation and understanding of the relationship between management research and the professional practice of management.

      Upon successful completion of the Professional Doctorate in Emergency Services Management (ambulance, police, or fire and rescue services), you will have obtained and demonstrated the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research, of a quality to satisfy peer review and merit publication. You will make a significant contribution towards new professional practice and academic knowledge.

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      In Depth

      What will I study?

      You will work on a research project throughout the programme, resulting in a thesis of doctoral standard, demonstrating an original contribution to the field of approximately 55,000 words.

      Alongside this, you will undertake development activity in the first two years of the programme. This comprises of:

      • Core and methodological training which will help you to finalise your research proposal by the end of the first semester;
      • A programme of related studies which will be tailored to address your specific learning needs to help you enhance your skills as a researcher;
      • Subject-specific researcher training which will focus on a range of themes, including contemporary issues and challenges in management practice of the emergency services, multi-agency collaboration and interoperability between organisations, and reflexivity and becoming a reflective practitioner.

      How will I study?

      The programme typically requires approximately 23.5 hours per week dedicated to research-related activity. The way in which this research is structured is primarily led by you, with supervisory input.

      You will also attend scheduled researcher development sessions, ranging from individual personal supervisor-led contact to supported online learning, small group work and teacher-led lectures.

      There is a requirement to attend Edge Hill University once per week for core and methodical training in the first semester of the programme, in addition to a total of three weekends across the first two years of the programme for subject-specific researcher training.

      Outside of these occasions, attendance on campus will be determined by your individual development needs and the nature of your project.

      How will I be assessed?

      The programme incorporates three viva examinations where your written submissions are assessed by a team of experts.

      At the first examination, after approximately seven months of study, your research proposal will be scrutinised. At the second examination, between two and three years after first registration, your research to date will be reviewed. At the third examination, your final thesis is presented.

      Who will be teaching me?

      You will be supervised in your research by a team of academic and professional experts with specialist knowledge of emergency services management. Guest speakers will also contribute to the delivery of the programme.


      As a postgraduate research student, you will be registered in the University’s Graduate School and be based in the faculty or department that is most appropriate for your project. Professional Doctorate in Emergency Services Management students will normally be based in Edge Hill Business School.

      A stunning £8million building provides impressive teaching and learning facilities for students in Edge Hill Business School.

      The contemporary three-storey building offers a 100-seat lecture theatre and modern seminar and meeting rooms. There are also social learning areas which encourage a more informal and interactive style of learning, in addition to an attractive roof garden and atrium.

      Entry Criteria

      Entry Requirements

      You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) and a Masters degree (for example, MBA, MA, MSc or MRes, or equivalent). No specific subjects are required.

      You must also have at least five years of management or professional experience. In exceptional circumstances, applicants without a Masters qualification but with substantial professional experience may be considered.

      Overseas applicants will be considered on an individual basis and will be expected to demonstrate English language proficiency to a minimum standard of IELTS 7.0 or equivalent. Please note, however, that as this is a part-time research degree it is subject to certain visa restrictions. Please contact the International Office to check whether the University can sponsor your visa for part-time study.

      English Language Requirements

      International students require IELTS 7.0, with a score no lower than 6.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification, at the point of application.

      If your current level of English is half a band or one band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

      Please note, however, that as this is a part-time research degree it is subject to certain visa restrictions. Please contact the International Office to check whether the University can sponsor your visa for part-time study.

      Further information about how international postgraduate research applicants can meet our English Language requirements is available on the International Students website.

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      This programme will enhance your personal development across a wide range of roles performed by staff in the emergency services. You will also be well placed to take advantage of opportunities in consultancy or to pursue a teaching career in higher education.


      Tuition Fees

      Tuition fees for part-time study on this Professional Doctorate are £2,820 a year for UK students and £8,500 a year for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2022/23.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

      The University may administer a small inflationary rise in part-time postgraduate tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

      Financial Support

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2022/23, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2022/23 guide at

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see for further details.

      Financial support information for international students can be found at


      How to Apply

      There is an online application process for this programme.

      Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

      The deadline for applications for October 2022 entry is Monday 20 June 2022.

      The deadline for applications for February 2023 entry is Thursday 20 October 2022.

      As part of your application you will need to submit a research proposal that should not exceed 2,000 words. You will also need to submit an academic CV, a scan of your passport, budget sheet and a scan of your degree certificates/transcripts with your application.

      Detailed guidance on writing your research proposal and additional application support is available at

      You should instruct your referees to send your references to [email protected] at the point of application using a professional email address or company headed paper.

      International applicants will also need to provide evidence of meeting the English Language requirements as part of their application.

      Visit to access the relevant online application form and to find out more about the application process. 

      Further information for international students about how to apply is available at

      Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

      Visit Us

      If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at

      Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, at

      Get in Touch

      If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

      If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

      International students should visit or email [email protected] with any queries about overseas study.

      Course Changes

      Expand All This tab outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. Future material changes will be added here as amends are made to course information.

      7th July 2021 - Change of Tuition Fees

      The part-time tuition fee rate for UK students joining this programme in academic year 2021/22 has been reduced to £2,610 per annum.

      Covid-19 - Emergency Services Management (DESM) Essential Information

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.

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